By Georgia Danielson, MUIR Content Editor
Over the weekend, MUIR Athletes Jeff Browning and Sabrina Stanley competed in The Hardrock 100: an unforgiving, high altitude race through Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, where both defended their champion status from the last running of the race in 2018.
The race was canceled in 2019 due to snow and avalanche damage to the trails, and in 2021 because of COVID. So, runners and fans were especially excited for the race this year.
Usually, the Colorado high country experiences monsoon weather patterns in the hot summer months, where short, intense thunderstorms clang through the mountains and lightning poses a dangerous threat.
This year, however, the weather was rather cooperative, some might even say perfect. There was no heat wave, no smoke from wildfires, and the monsoon storms were very short and unthreatening with only light rain.
To the benefit of the runners, the rain cooled the course down further and moistened trails that are typically slippery and slow because of how dry they get.
Frenchman Francois D’Haene won the race outright in 21:45:50 and broke the course record for either direction – clockwise or counterclockwise – previously 23:28:00 held by ultra-running legend Kilian Jornet. The next two runners, Americans Dylan Bowman and Ryan Smith finished in record-breaking time as well – 22:45:50 and 23:24:29 respectively – for the counterclockwise direction.
Following Jeff, 2018 Champion and MUIR Athlete Sabrina Stanley won the women's race and finished 6th overall with a time of 27:21:49, less than four minutes from the women’s course record of 27:18:24 set by Diana Finkel in 2009.
Sabrina raced hard against Courtney Dauwalter, who dropped at mile 62 due to stomach issues. Roughly six hours later, former Hardrock Champion Darcy Piceu finished second for women, and about an hour later Megan Hicks took third.
Besides the runners, many familiar faces of ultra-running came out to the race to support, pace, spectate, and enjoy the beautiful San Juans. The week was a wonderful reunion and even though the competition was fierce, the gratitude for being able to race and gather again was a defining feature of this year’s Hardrock 100.
Hardrock 100 Champion Sabrina Stanley on fueling for races:
For all of my "A" races I start my training 4-months out from race day. By the time race day arrives I have run thousands of miles. Through all those miles my body needs fuel. Fuel that is good for my body, and easy to digest while on the move. When race day comes my body is accustomed to getting MUIR every 30-45 minutes. MUIR continues to be a staple in both my training and races, as an ever-trusting friend I can turn to, to fill my stomach and help me accomplish my dreams.